Screened as part of NZIFF 2017

The Venerable W. 2017

Le vénérable W.

Directed by Barbet Schroeder

Barbet Schroeder (General Idi Amin Dada, Terror’s Advocate) completes his trilogy of evil with this chilling documentary about the Buddhist monk whose Islamophobic rhetoric is stoking ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

France / Switzerland In Burmese, English, French and Spanish with English subtitles
107 minutes DCP



Margaret Menegoz
Lionel Baier


Victoria Clay Mendoza


Nelly Quettier


Jorge Arriagada


Ashin Wirathu
U. Zanitar
Kyaw Zayar Htun
U. Kaylar Sa
Matthew Smith
Abdul Rasheed
Carlos Sardiña Galache
U. Galonni


Cannes (Special Screenings) 2017


“Everyone knows that Buddhism is the religion of peace, love and understanding. So there’s something deeply wrong about a Buddhist monk who calmly spouts anti-Muslim hate speech and incites ethnic riots. The monk in question, an influential Burmese figure known as the Venerable Wirathu, is the subject of the powerful final installment of Swiss director Barbet Schroeder’s ‘Axis of Evil’ trilogy, which began in 1974 with General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait, and continued in 2007 with Terror’s Advocate

It’s the shocking disjunct between his religion and the rabid nationalism of his sermons, writings and declarations that powers Schroeder’s conventional but nevertheless effective long hard stare into the eyes of intolerance.

However, this is also a chilling corrective to accounts of Burma that paint its recent history simply as a fight between courageous pro-democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi (by no means a heroine in this particular story) and a repressive military regime. In the era of Trump (Wirathu is a fan), Farage and Le Pen, it also shines timely light on the mechanisms of nationalistic rhetoric.” — Lee Marshall, Screendaily